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on 18 August 2007
Sara Wheeler got a first glimpse of Antarctica when she completed her north-to-south journey through Chile ["Travels In A Thin Country"] by visiting the Chilean base on the Antarctic peninsula. She wrote the title of this book on a new notebook as she flew north again from the Chilean base. It took her two years to arrange to return. For the reader, this account of her adventure was worth every minute and all the effort.

The result is enormously interesting and entertaining. Her writing is a pleasure to read, whether dealing with historical background material, describing childish horse-play and lavatorial school-boy pranks [mostly perpetrated by the British, sadly], rhapsodising over the Antarctic landscape or reflecting on her own inner landscape of fear, depression and faith.

Her style is succinct and humorous when describing life in the bases and in the field, and close to elegiac when treating with the landscape and her own thoughts and feelings about it all. It's clear that Antarctica is spectacular in the extreme. Sara Wheeler has described it without becoming carried away or over-blown but has nevertheless given us a picture lacking nothing in colour, detail and texture.

There is a large library of books on Antarctic exploration. I have quite a number myself, including "South With Scott" by Teddy Evans, signed by the author. Sara Wheeler's book is eminently worthy of taking its place amongst those of Evans, Wilson, Shackleton and Cherry Garrard.

Sara Wheeler is not an explorer or a scientist or an obsessive. She has not written a book describing the events in the moments of the creation of a myth or the miseries endured whilst accomplishing some heroic but essentially meaningless quest [what she refers to as the how-dead-can-you-get tendency]. She has given us a book by an engaging, percipient, thoughtful lay person who describes, for those of us who are entranced but will never go there, what Antarctica is like.
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on 31 July 2014
Brilliantly written, fantastic first - person postmodern take on the Antarctic experience, & one of the best recruiting narratives for going there ever written, I suspect... A combination of travelogue, reflection on Antarctica's history (i.e. a history of Scott, Amundsen, the Americans at the S. Pole etc...), layman's explanation of all that science going on down there... and crafty feminist poke (?!?) at the testosterone powering much of Antarctic science today

Really really should be read together with Cherry-Garrard's 'Worst Journey in the World'
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on 15 February 2018
Anything written by Sara Wheeler is worth spending time on to enjoy. Beautifully written and evocative.
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on 10 January 2013
I loved this book. I bought it as the author was recommended, rather than having a specific interests in the Antarctic.
I've never been to Antarctica, but I could see it plain as day in the book. The visual metaphors used by Sarah Wheeler are stunning.
It's not the quickest book in the world to read, but well worth the effort.
I've now added the Antarctic to my bucket list.
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on 25 June 2017
This is one of best travel books I've ever read. Warm, funny, endearing and always beautifully written, it manages to humanise the frozen continent while presenting its author's sense of awe. Pleasurable, informative and inspiring from beginning to end. A classic.
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on 15 October 2017
I bought, read and then bought three more for my friends in order to share this uplifting experience.
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on 7 September 2014
My absolute favourite travel book of all time - Sara Wheeler's writing drove me to realise a long held dram of visiting Antarctica. It's spellblindingly beautiful writing
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on 22 June 2016
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on 29 December 2015
Deeply absorbing, spiritual, amusing, gritty. I will make it my business to seek out more of Wheeler's work. Wish I'd discovered her sooner.
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on 10 November 2013
Sarah Wheelers travels through the Antarctic are told in a highly readable style with many knowledgeable references to the Polar heroes of the 'heroic age of exploration' and astute and amusing observation on the eccentricities of the modern denizens of that region today.
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